Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Special Delivery: Ford Europe Announces Fiesta SportVan

2006 Ford Fiesta SportVan (panel-style)

Work vehicle by day. Personal vehicle by night.

Small business owners often make do with a single car or truck that performs this kind of double-duty. You see them on the road all the time, ranging from big trucks and SUVs to smaller, more practical cars like the PT Cruiser (which I frequently see playing this role). The one thing they all have in common is the presence of the business name on the door, often in the form of removable magnetic signage.

In Europe, businesses work with smaller work vehicles out of necessity, and Ford has decided to inject some stiyle into the segment. At this week's Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, England, the Blue Oval revealed the 2006 Fiesta SportVan. Available in both window and panel models, the SportVan takes the already sporty fiesta, dresses it up with ST-style visual cues, and deletes rear seating to create a usable cargo space.

Power comes from a 1.6-liter turbodiesel with around 91 horsepower, which is connected to a 5-speed Durashift manual.

Inside, customers get sport seating and a steering wheel and shift knob wrapped in leather. They can also add MP3 support, A/C, a heated windshield, and electric, heated mirrors from the available list of options.

Like the regular Fiesta, this thing's a Europe-only model, so if you want one, you're gonna be disappointed. It's a shame, too. As trucklets go, this may be the coolest one I've seen.

Here's the full release from Ford:
NEW FORD FIESTA SPORTVAN COMBINES PERFORMANCE WITH STYLE

Birmingham, 25 April 2006: With sporty hot-hatch looks, sparkling road performance and impressive load carrying capacity, the Fiesta SportVan is ideal for dual-use customers who require a van for both business and domestic purposes.

Like all Ford Fiestas, the SportVan combines driving quality with functionality and practicality. Powered by Ford's lively 1.6-litre 90PS 204Nm Duratorq TDCi diesel engine, it boasts the acclaimed Durashift 5-speed manual transmission, power-assisted steering and anti-lock brakes.

Making its public debut at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham and available as either a window van or panel van (availability varies by market), the Fiesta SportVan comes in one of four colours: Colorado Red, Panther Black, Moondust Silver and Diamond White – all with a dark Pewter and ebony Gun Metal interior.

Externally, distinctive styling elements communicate the vehicle's on-road prowess. These include body-coloured front and rear sport bumpers, 16-inch 12-spoke alloy wheels with 195/45 R16 tyres, tapered body-side mouldings and a rear spoiler. The front end is distinguished by a high intake front grille, sports fog lamps and a rear spoiler.

The style continues inside, with sports front seats, a sports leather gear knob and leather-wrapped steering wheel with silver spokes. An available option pack includes air-conditioning, MP3 connectivity, a heated front windscreen, and electrically-operated and heated door mirrors.

"The small delivery van market is buoyant, thanks to a growing trend toward customers who require a stylish dual-use van for both domestic and business purposes." said Phil Collareno, Vehicle Line Director, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe.

"The new Fiesta SportVan has been developed to meet the needs of drivers who want more car-like performance, style and fun in combination with the practicality and durability of the Fiesta van."

The Fiesta SportVan will go on sale in markets across Europe towards the end of the year.
Photo courtesy of Ford